Unit 26 Media Coverage…………………………………463
What do we expect from those stalwart(坚定的) people who report the news? A past generation of journalists prided itself on the image of the fearless objective reporter, whose slogan was, "Just the facts, Ma’am. " All editorializing was left to the editorials pages. Then the so-called "investigative journalist" was born. They blurred the distinction between reporting and editorializing. Investigative journalism seems to see its job as a mission to expose wrongdoing(不道德行为) and corruption in high places. Of course, on occasion(有时) these journalists do a good deed. And with the birth of the investigative journalist came the inevitable News Shows! They’ve blurred the distinction between news and entertainment, often seeming to cater to(迎合) the public’s taste for scandal(丑闻) and gossip than for real news. Put them all together and they make up the Media.
The media holds vast potential for education as well as the broadening of individual viewpoints.Conversely, it often has a frightening power to manipulate the minds of the masses. This last fact is demonstrated by millions who have become media dependent. Yes it’s true. Just as there are people who are alcohol-dependent.
Just look at the effect the media has on most people’s political views. Elections are sometimes indirectly decided by what the media presents to the public. We often choose political leaders in campaigns conducted in large part in the news, whether it’s in the form of newspapers or television.It’s all the same. And the nastier the campaign, the more coverage it gets.
One main area that many people have allowed the media to shape their views on is race relations. Because of the TV images of places that few of the viewers have ever visited, and incidents that they didn’t actually witness and are not truly well informed about, personal decisions are made.Our fears and doubts about racial bias, rapists(强奸犯) and their victims, world hunger or what have you(等等), are aroused and fueled by a sensation-hungry media. It is also the media that either keeps us pumped up and excited about these issues or that lets our excitement dwindle and subside(减退).But where does it all start? Where does the finished product come from? Who is behind deciding what we all get to actually see in the end?
Whatever it is that we are seeing and reading about the issues mentioned above, and indeed countless others, all depends on the judgment of editors and network executives who are more or less self-appointed(自作主张的) judges of what is newsworthy and what is not. Do you know what it is that most often determines what goes on the front page of a newspaper and what is lost in its back pages? Marketing. Marketing judgment is foremost in making these decisions. Secondly there’s editorial judgment. "What is good for the public to hear on this issue?" That is the question that they ask themselves, and when they formulate an answer they believe to be pleasing enough, then they put it all together and present it.
I have noticed that whenever the media focuses sharply on candidates for the presidency((美)总统职务) or especially for the Supreme Court, more often than not we learn more about their pasts than their current standing(立场) on health insurance, abortion(堕胎), the death penalty or what have you(等等). The media tries to sensationalize their youthful experiments with cocaine(可卡因) or their talks behind closed doors, like these are truly important errors. In today’s permissive(自由的) and often pervasive(有渗透力的) society, it would be an odd thing indeed if a candidate appeared who didn’t have any fault, wouldn’t it? Anyway, for many viewers, and especially our younger generations, the faces that come up on the media screens are more real and more interesting than those of their coworkers, neighbors and schoolmates.
Our judicial(司法的) system could use tuning up too in various areas. More and more in recent years it seems that contributory negligence(因受伤一方本身的粗心而造成的意外事故) is not a viable(可行的) factor in many lawsuits(诉讼). Take this one case in particular. It happened some years back, I disremember where I read it. A guy decided to perform a stupid stunt(绝技), so he strapped a refrigerator onto his back and ran. It was a truly idiotic(白痴般的) thing to do. One of the straps broke, the guy fell down when the weight of the refrigerator shifted on his back. The refrigerator naturally fell on top of him. He got hurt, and he sued the manufacturer that made the broken strap. Believe it or not, he won! Believe it or not, a judge actually awarded him a cool(整整的) million for his troubles. No wonder it is that everywhere you look there are tort lawyers(民事诉讼律师) advertising their services to sue people on your behalf.
What effect does that kind of idiotic suit have on small business? Many small companies can not afford to pay off a million dollar lawsuit and continue to thrive.
One more really curious thing. Nowadays it seems popular to try to get government grants.There is a book that tells one how to apply and get these grants for practically any reason. There once was supposedly a team of young scientists who applied for and actually received a $ 5 000 000 grant in order to do a study of the effects of bacteria on global warming. Is it true? I don’t know. I wouldn’t say it didn’t happen.
Do we know our world well enough? Yes we know some of our world on a first hand basis but most of it we know through the media. Is that a sad thing or a good thing? I suppose it depends on whether or not the media does accurate reporting.
For instance, some people in a television audience may not know one single African American(非籍美洲人) personally, but he or she does know the media versions of some African Americans and their stereotypes(固定的形象) ：the up-to-date wise-cracking(说俏皮话的) tough LA(洛杉矶) street kid (who might be male or female), Bill Cosby (who is described as kindly, forever smiling and self-depreciating), or Mike Tyson (described as the violent and self-destructive black male).Yes, the media magnates are undisputed experts at playing out with loving detail, the personal disasters, heroic rescues, and petty scandals that they know the viewers love. However, they take no responsibility whatsoever for providing true insights on credible issues like the politics of race, immigration, education, the national debt, mental health, or unemployment.
Now I ask you.
How does the media shape or distort our reality on a daily basis? Do they always skim the surface of our reality, soundly biting into it at given points and taking away the bits that allow us a chance for thinking about cause and effect? Are we always to be no more than helpless "target audiences" sitting around a television screen taking in the hype? Or can we do something to influence the steady stream of images and ideas that the media present to us?
basis ( pl. bases) →★base